Swindon AdvertiserGuest list growing ready for big Penhill reunion (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Guest list growing ready for big Penhill reunion

Swindon Advertiser: Freda Milne Freda Milne

GOLDEN oldies of Penhill Secondary School’s past have been called to arms by schoolmate Freda Milne as the guest list lengthens for another reunion.

Classes from 1963 to 1968 are being invited to break cover and reacquaint themselves with old faces from the school they once shared in Cricklade Road.

Freda, 65, a retired retail assistant of Penhill Drive, has been at the forefront of the past two reunions for this gang of pupils in 2004 and 2008.

At their last gathering, more than 90 students and staff met up to reminisce, though it’s a number which could be surpassed with the aid of social media.

“At the last one we had two from Australia, two from Canada – that was lovely,” said Freda. “E-mails, Facebook and Friends Reunited have all made my job so much easier.

“It’s lovely for putting the word out. There’s the local paper, the magazine here in Penhill, I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”

The reunion has been planned for Saturday, August 9, at The Gas Club in Gipsy Lane.

It may well have been 50 years since they set foot into the school for some of them, but Freda said it does not feel like any time has passed when the group comes back together.

At their first get together there were even two teachers present, with another four added to that in 2008.

“When we meet up it’s like the time’s gone. They have all progressed in their lives, but with one conversation we catch up and it feels like we’ve never been apart,” said Freda. We even have a Sir who turns up. Sir Keith Porter was knighted for his work in the medical profession.

“We have people that come back, who have run companies or really progressed in their careers.

“I call us the golden oldies now that we are all over 60. Most of us will be retired by the time this next one comes around.”

Although social media and the internet has come to make it easier to bring her and her friends together, Freda is adamant the online world will not come to replace their reunions.

“We are not virtual friends, we are real friends,” she said. “On Facebook there are so many people trying to like you who you have no connection with at all.

“Those that come to our reunion have not seen each other for the 40 years and are still friends. They were friends then and they are friends now. These reunions bring people together from all over the world. You can’t trade Facebook for real contact.”

l If you would like to attend the reunion, contact Freda via e-mail at fred127milne@hotmail.com or via telephone on 01793 334883

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